Five Books You NEED To Read This Halloween
Summer is over. The days have become darker, the shops are lined with pumpkins and the leaves are dancing messily down the street. Autumn tends to be the time of year that I love the most; Summer is swept away with sudden abruptness, only to be replaced with the charms of the spooky season of Halloween. As a big fan of all things creepy, it almost goes without saying that I am crazy about this time of year.
Although I read paranormal and horror novels all the time (I’m addicted to dark fiction), there’s just something a little bit extra special about reading spooky stories during this season. There’s nothing quite like curling up under a blanket – hot chocolate in hand and purring cat curled on my lap – to make me feel ready to be frightened by my fiction.
Of course, it’s always wonderful to discover new stories and new authors, but around Halloween tends to be a time where I revisit some of my favourite books. There’s a comfort in the familiar, I suppose, but more than anything, it’s like revisiting an old friend. In honour of this, I have decided to compile a list of some of my favourite scary books, ones that I have read several times over.
So, curl up, lower the lights and get ready to be frightened.
In no particular order, here are the books you need to read this Halloween season…
The Haunted Book: Jeremy Dyson
This collection of short stories by author Jeremy Dyson (co-creator of Ghost Stories – the film and the theatre show) is, quite simply, outstanding. I have read it several times and I never get bored of it. The main story follows the author as he travels to different locations that are supposed to be haunted, after being told about them by journalist Aiden Fox. The different locations Dyson visits are the basis for each of the short stories that unfold in the book – and each tale is a remarkable journey into fear and the unknown.
I think Jeremy Dyson does an amazing job at capturing creepy atmospheres and unsettling narratives. Most of the stories within the collection are solid, paced perfectly and have just the right amount of ‘creep-factor’ to keep a reader on edge. Personal favourites of mine are Kitson from Nealon, Ward Four Sixteen, and A Ghost Amongst the Bookshelves.
If you are a fan of the film (or theatre show) Ghost Stories, you will love this superb collection of short stories. I highly recommend it. Dyson knows how to deliver the scares!
Help the Witch: Tom Cox
The title and the cover art of Help the Witch might leave you thinking that this collection of stories are fully-fledged tales of hauntings, but this book is a different sort of creature. Yes, there are hints of ghosts, wisps of something very sinister in-between the pages, but there is something much larger at play. The stories Cox has created seem to go much deeper than ghostly sightings and tapping from unseen hands…. yes there are genuinely scary moments, however these are stories that offer glimpses of what it is to be human: to be alone, to crave, to feel desperate, to yearn and to hope. They dive deep into the mind of the characters, they bring the reader to locations so vividly it is as if you are there yourself. The tales here do offer something creepy and uneasy, but in addition, it provides readers with big questions, with uncomfortable feelings, and with wonder. I think it’s the perfect reading material for Halloween season, and I highly recommend it.
The Mall: S L Grey
I have adored this book since I first read it, which was about six or seven years ago now. I’ve revisited this scary tale several times because it’s just the most random, creepy, weird and frightening book I have read. Imagine entering a shopping mall late at night…. and imagine finding yourself trapped inside there. Imagine every kind of creepy thing you can; how the store mannequins look, how weird the place might be once the lights go out, how the strange members of staff in there might be acting towards you…. imagine feeling like you’ve entered a kind of hell to which there appears to be no escape. All right in the middle of a public shopping centre! That’s what you have in The Mall. It’s odd in all the right ways, and I think horror fans will love it. The authors (S L Grey is a partnership of two authors) do an amazing job.
It’s original and hits all the right marks for me. I can’t recommend it enough.
The House of Lost Souls: Francis G Cottam
If you like your stories to feel absolutely drenched by fear and creepy atmosphere, look no further than author Francis G Cottam (author of several books, including Dark Echo and The Magdalena Curse). His work is exceptional in that he seems to deliver the scariest tales without ever letting go of the reader… his work is utterly haunting. His book, The House of Lost Souls is one of the best I have read – and I have read it a few times now. Each time I never fail to become absorbed in the world the author has created.
The House of Lost Souls follows the main character, Paul Seaton, as he explores the legend of the creepy Fischer House and one woman in particular who visited there many years before. Seaton is a haunted, disturbed and frightened character who must face the truth about the occult and what happened all those years ago at the property.
It’s a story full of eerie scenes and unsettling characters. Beautifully written, haunting and unusual. I think most fans of haunted house/occult stories will be delighted with this creepy gem.
You can read an interview between Fiona & Francis HERE
The Last Days of Jack Sparks: Jason Arnopp
I know this book tops many lists, but that’s because it deserves to be there. The Last Days of Jack Sparks follows the main character (who is an egotistical, self-obsessed lad) as he tries to prove that ghosts and demons don’t exist ….. but of course, there’s plenty of twists along the way – and plenty of scares. I absolutely, hands-down, adore this book. I think it will always remain to be one of the best I have read. Jason Arnopp is a solid, talented writer who knows how to convey fear and how to make everyday life seem very sinister. I can’t recommend his work enough. This October, Arnopp also releases Ghoster, which I was able to review for Kendall Reviews HERE – it, too, was amazing. Check out this author’s work. You won’t be disappointed.
You can read the Kendall Review for The Last Days Of Jack Sparks HERE
Fiona Dodwell is a published horror author and freelance writer for several websites and magazines. She has had articles published with Haunted Magazine, Made in Shoreditch Magazine and many more. She has studied Theology, Film Studies and psychology.
Fiona runs a blog which features author/actor interviews, as well as reviews over on Fiona-Dodwell
Follow Fiona on Twitter @Angel_Devil982
Madison Walter thought she had everything.
A good job. A perfect husband. A baby on the way.
When a terrible tragedy turns her life upside down, Madison knows things will never be the same again.
Intent on saving her marriage, she joins her husband on a luxury trip abroad. However, a week in the sun turns into an abyss of despair and horror.
Can Madison save her life, her sanity and her family before it’s too late?